Fried rice is a weekend treat for me. I like taking my time cooking different aromatics individually in the oil–lemongrass, garlic, lime leaves, chilies–and then using that very fragrant oil to cook the day-old rice in. This is not that recipe.
Weekday fried rice
This is the simpler sinangag I cook when I don’t have the time to luxuriate over building the oil. It is nonetheless aromatic thanks to the salty citrusy twist from the preserved calamansi that is minced finely and cooked in the oil to infuse it.
I like making calamansi fried rice and sharing it with friends who enjoy the familiar flavor and aroma of calamansi but are surprised by its presence in the sinangag. I usually eat it with ulam cooked with coconut cream. The fermented quality of the preserved calamansi adds a citrusy note to the rice without the sourness, and is a welcome bright contrast to the gata, which tends to be heavy.
To use the preserved calamansi, remove the pulp, which will be very salty and use the peel. Use 2 to 3 pieces of preserved calamansi per cup of rice for the sinangag (but hey, no one’s stopping you if you want to add more). Because the fermented calamansi is already salty, you may opt out of adding salt to this recipe.
In this recipe I used day-old red rice. You’ll notice I like using pigmented rice because of its health benefits. Pigmented rice however tends to be stickier and starchier than polished white rice, but I prefer the chewy texture. You are free to use your favorite rice variety. Make sure to mix the rice vigorously if you’re using a stickier variety so that you distribute the flavor (and other sahog, if using) evenly.
- 2 cups leftover cooked rice
- 4 to 6 preserved calamansi (Find the recipe, here)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- cooking oil
- salt (optional) and pepper
- If using day-old rice which has been refrigerated, break up any clump in a medium bowl with your clean hands.
- Remove the pulp from the preserved calamansi, and finely chop the peel.
- Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a wok or frying pan until it is smoking. Add the rice and stir until it is lightly toasted and there are no more clumps. Transfer the rice to a bowl.
- Heat another tablespoon of oil in the wok or frying pan over medium. Add the minced preserved calamansi and garlic. Stir gently until fragrant and the garlic is lightly golden, around 1 minute. Do not burn the aromatics.
- Add the lightly toasted rice and stir to combine. Season the calamansi fried rice with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
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